Makoma (or A Tale Told by a Mummy in the New York City Explorers' Club on August 16, 1993) tells the story of a legendary African king, told to Hellboy by a mummy. At the same time Makoma's story parallels Hellboy's own life.
Makoma was originally published as a two issue mini-series from February to March 2006. The story was later collected in Hellboy – Volume 7: The Troll Witch and Others in October 2007.
Makoma is the first Hellboy story to feature art by someone other than Mignola.
The frame of Makoma is set in 1993. Hellboy travels to the Explorers Club, and a mummy taken from an ancient city (which vanished completely after a sandstorm) speaks to him. Within this frame is the story of the legendary king, Makoma. For the most part Makona is drawn as though he were Hellboy, though in the final scene Makoma himself, an African king, is depicted.
Makoma takes place on August 16, 1993 at the Explorers Club in New York. Hellboy speaks with Prof. Ali T. Koman about his recent archaeological excavation in Africa. Koman was forced to abandon the site because of a sand storm, but was able to bring back a number of antiquities including a mummy. Hellboy mentions that he only traveled to Africa once. The men of the club comment that he traveled to Africa with Trevor Bruttenholm in 1947, and that more recently Bruttenholm's expedition was given up for lost. Hellboy has a flash of memory, thinking about the time he spent in Africa as a child, when a giant rhino spoke his name.
The mummy begins to talk to Hellboy, and beckons him to travel to the lost city, and tomb of kings. Hellboy wanders the ruins as the mummy begins to tell him the story of Makoma before dozing off while listening.
Born with the ability to speak as he named himself “he who is greatest and without fear,” Makoma was cast into a deep crocodile-infested pool and the next day emerged fully grown holding an Iron Hammer and surrounded by killed crocodiles. The elders tell Makoma of the problems in the land, and he sets out on his journey. Makoma comes across an old woman who gave him a bag to hold the bones of his enemies. Told to carry it until he meets the old woman again at the end of the world, Makoma's journey has him cross paths with giants who fight him upon hearing his name. Each one is defeated and shrinks so small that Makoma is able to place them in his bag. Next Makoma finds a fire demon, defeating the entity. The demon tempts Makoma to kill him, take his power, and “become what [he] was meant to be.” But Makoma instead fashions a cage made of sticks to hold the fire demon inside.
- Makoma approaches a man sitting in front of a town of singing people who asks him to lay down his burden and stay. But Makoma sees that the town is really full of corpses in a state of dreaming death and decides to go back. Refusing to let Makoma leave, having intended to make the man his slave, the figure summons a group of ant-men to attack the warrior. After many days, the man offers to let Makoma go if only he can keep the bag holding the giants. But Makoma tricks the man into taking the cage of sticks, resulting with the man releasing the fire demon as it burns him and his town to ashes.
- Makoma travels on for years until he comes back to the old woman from the beginning of his journey. Makoma goes to sleep in the woman's hut. He is visited in his dreams by the spirits of great chiefs, in the form of lions and the spirit of Africa, in the form of a giant rhino. When he awakes with a feast before him, Makoma eats every last scrap before learning he ate the giants. Makoma looks into his bag and sees a boy standing on a pile of bones, the woman revealing the boy to have been possessed by the fire demon before Makoma restored him to life. Makoma resumes his journet before facing a seven headed dragon, equally matched against the monster before both die in battle. Upon Makoma's death, the world was created anew out of his bag with the boy emerging last.
The narration returns to the mummy in the ruins of the city. He tells Hellboy that he was that boy, and that he built the city as a monument and tomb for Makoma. His story told, the mummy crumbles to dust. As a result of this Hellboy was banned from the Explorers Club.
Connections to Other Stories
The entire story parallels Hellboy's own life or a possibility of his life as he played the role of Makoma in the story.. The most clear aspect is the seven headed dragon, five-headed in the original story, which represents the Ogdru Jahad. This story suggests a possible ending for the entire Hellboy story: the Ogdru Jahad set free and Hellboy fighting them in a battle that kills them with the world returning itself soon after. This resembles both the ending of the Hellboy series and the ending of the BPRD series, both of which involve Hellboy fighting an avatar of the Dragon.
Makoma beating the giants and shrinking them may represent Hellboy's battle with Grom.
|Hellboy Publication Order|
The Hydra and the Lion
|Hellboy Trade Paperback Order|
|Vol. 7 The Troll Witch and Others||Vol. 8 Darkness Calls|
|Hellboy Story Chronology|
In the Chapel of Moloch
Seed of Destruction